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remoteafrican

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About remoteafrican

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  1. hey guys sorry for the delay. Haven't had much of a chance to fly. Yesterday, I continued testing the new CF frame and the FY20A and I am very happy with the combination so far. Flew FPV for the very first time today, from take off, flying around and landing on my pad in the field. The FY20A provides for very smooth take off and landings, which makes doing these via FPV very easy. Have to say I was pouring with sweat after the first few sorties though (and a little nauseous)! I'm gonna go find a larger field now so I go higher without stressing too much (maybe a field of corn to provide a softer landing in case I dump it!). Wanted to make sure I could land accurately before I progress any further. I have to say, the view in the fatsharks from the gopro is SO much better than from my CCD cam and the wide (if distorted) view, along with the tilting camera mount allows me to see exactly where I place my skids. By the way, my Fatshark battery seems to have died after 2/3 charges. I cut off the connector and soldered it onto a 7.4v lipo and that sorted that problem - although they don't looks quite as good! I have a problem with the gopro at the moment that I need to look into further - it seems it wont record and give a live feed at the same time. After about 20 seconds it flashes Storage I/O error - maybe my memory card or something. I will get round to posting that crash footage as soon as I can, along with some pics of my FPV setup and my new modified landing skids. RC-CAM - i have 2 motors with mashed bearings by the feel of it - is it worth the hassle of trying to change them? I am thinking of using alternative (cheaper?) motors and ESCs, any advice? cheers
  2. Thanks for your reply, RC. I found both of my crashes very strange as it did not seem to be any of the things you described (although I could be wrong of course). However the packs on both crashes were different, fairly new but used several times. I also have a LVA set at 3.6v so it was not a low-voltage cut-off issue as far as I can see. Also the one time I experienced a low-voltage crash, it was an immediate flip and crash. Both these crashes were slow rolls to the left until lift was lost and I was unable to correct it. (I have onboard footage and the similarity is striking, but internet in Zambia is dreadful so uploading vids is a challenge). I also changed out the ESCs on the on the 2 left hand arms with new ones between crashes and motors and the exactly the same thing happened again (although after a longer flight time). I had also re-programmed the ESCs to default and re-calibrated several times. As I say, very strange. I had to suspect that the GU-344 was going crazy for some unknown reason after a random amount of seemingly normal flying time... Anyway, onto the new build: I am using the same ESCs and motors but a brand new GU-344 and after flying through 6 or 7 battery packs there has been no hint of it wanting to kill itself yet! I have only flown through 2 packs with the FY20A installed, so I would like to get some more flying time in with it before I can comment properly, but - my initial response was very positive! I have no interest in sport/3d flying so my ideal quad behaviour would be slow and stable for FPV / AP. From the little time I have had with it the FY20A seems to get some way to achieving this. I put it through it's paces abit by doing aggressive slides left and right and forward and back and it is great to watch it level out instantly, with a wobble or two granted, but still a great result. Nose-in is a breeze as are slow piros. I do have to say though that it was extremely calm when I was testing it and from what I've read, I expect it to throw a bit of a tantrum in strong wind, but we'll see. I hope to get out and fly some more this afternoon so will give you my sentences then. p.s. Pic attached of first crash, moment of impact. Note 2 arms leaving the general area
  3. Happy New Year everyone, hope much fun was had by all. A quick update on my 330xs evolution. After an uncontrollable deathslide from about 200 feet (in early dec) there wasn't much left of my 450 frame strewn about in the grass. (I have a great still pulled from the gopro of the moment of impact - 2 arms independently airborne with motors still attached and spinning. Will upload it tomorrow, as I left it at home). Was gutted. I transferred all the electronics onto the old 330 frame and swapped out a couple motors and ESCs in case that was the issue (there was nothing obvious). Flew fine for about 4mins and exactly the same thing happened - slow roll to the left and rapid descent, regardless of my manic thumb movements. End of 330 frame as well+ 2 motors. This was getting expensive. I was left having to assume that something had gone wrong with the GU-344. Any thoughts? Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have just rebuilt it again on a brand new full carbon fibre 450 frame (excellent quality with absolutely no flex in it), new GU-344 and an FY20A. I have to say, after a bit of fiddling with gain pots etc. the results are fantastic! Very pleased to have that extra backup just in case. RC-CAM, I have managed to get 2.5 clicks CCW on the ELE and AIL pots without oscillations (I guess due to the bigger heavier frame and payload). As you said, changing the GU-344 gain between 25% and 40% didn't seem to make any difference, I am currently flying at 40%. I bypassed the FY20A for the rudder as the GU-344 does a great job of holding heading on its own. I have also added a 2 axis CF camera mount with servos, CF landing legs and new 10" props from GAUI. Not entirely sure if the bigger props change things much, but they certainly make more noise I finally feel confident enough to try FPV, so I'll let you know how that goes in due course.
  4. Thanks Kilrah, the surging seems to have gone now (after I went through all the connections) - must have been a dodgy motor connection or something. Flying nicely now. Does anyone know if the FY21AP II IMU AUTOPILOT + OSD will work on the 330xs? Can't seem to find much info on it. I am trying to get my hands on an OSD module but it seems no-one in the UK has any stock of anything. One store has this and it could kill 2 birds with one stone I guess, but I have a feeling it won't work for the quad. thanks
  5. Hi guys Thanks for your comments - will go through it all again - just had a thought - I am flying outside my studio at the moment and there is alot of 2.4ghz wireless networks around here - could that cause tx-rx interference and cause the surging? Or is it more likely something else? I am flying with 2.4ghz control and 5.8ghz fpv kit at the moment - not ideal I know - but this model is just for fun/testing/learning with a an MK Okto2 on the horizon. Regarding descents, I have flown with more weight than this on the stock frame before I did this changeover and didn't experience the same unpredictability on control. Anyway - will let you know how i get on! Heliphoto - I am not sure where the frame is from - but I bought it from Buzzflyerdotcodotuk. You can either just get the arm extensions or you can replace the whole thing. It is extremely fiddly to put together as all the wiring is only just long enough and the manual is dreadful so you kinda have to work it out yourself. Not rocket science though! Have had to customize it abit too. Where the stock frame is 33cm between diagonal motors, this frame is 45cm. Until I sort out this surging issue I can't really comment whether it has made any difference to my flying experience or not (apart from shortening my flight times! ).
  6. Rc-cam - wondered if you have any advice. I have now removed the landing gear and just put CF 'pegs' on instead. Added a 2 axis camera mount and mounted a point and shoot cam in it. Now for some reason I can't work out, the motors seem to be surging randomly causing it to gain altitude on its own, once I reduce throttle it will sink and I have to input way more throttle than normal to stop the descent - its also nowhere near as stable and calm as it was. I have re-calibrated the ESCs one at a time and checked gain etc. but I can't see what could be causing it. Before the frame change it was flying beautifully and I could fly hands off in no wind for 10 seconds or so easy. Now there's not a chance of doing that. Will do some research now and see if this has come up before but wanted to pick your brain first if you don't mind. cheers
  7. Here are a few pics of my 330xs electrics installed (temporarily) on a 450 size frame with cf landing gear from a large heli. Like I said, I will probably lose the gear to save some weight but I like how it looks There is no camera system or fpv on it in these shots, hence why the camera mount is tilted so far forward for CG. Have also just slipped the lipo into the back of the camera mount for now - just to take some pics. Will hopefully be able to finish the build this week and have my first FPV flight with it. The sponge balls detract from it's menacing look somewhat but they are fantastic for orientation at altitude - they really glow when the sun hits them.
  8. sorry just had an after-thought - RC-Cam - does the FY20A help you deal with gusting wind? cheers
  9. Thats a pretty horrible combination for any quad I think! I would be very nervous flying in any wind above water, especially with expensive camera kit onboard. I am sure RC-Cam is far better qualified to answer your questions, (and I only have the stock gyro on my quad so far) but flying in strong winds is a fairly hands on exercise! Even in a moderate wind, it takes all my concentration at altitude to keep it under control - even worse with gusts that cause sudden altitude gains or loss. Unless you have someone else remotely operating the camera gear I think your mission would be extremely difficult even with GPS hold - but thats just my opinion from my limited experience. As my day job is a photographer (and my initial reason for getting into this), my other concern would be needing to get a shutter speed of at least 1/500sec to avoid blur from vibration and the use of a vibration dampening camera mount carrying a decent SLR. My other concern, of course, would be dumping it into the brine if something goes wrong. There is always a possibility of an ESC / Motor burning out which with a quad means it turns into a mini meteorite - also pays to monitor voltage levels very closely as one motor will cut out before the others with the same consequence (this caused one of my crashes - I now have a LVA - lesson learned). I suppose you could protect your camera with a waterproof case but this will add some serious weight. At least then your cam would be ok if the worst happened - if you could retrieve it from the seabed! I am looking into getting an MK Okto (hopefully early next year) With 8 motors, this does have the added benefit that it can still fly if one motor/esc goes out - again more security for the camera kit. Sorry to ramble abit, to sum up - in my opinion, the 330xs is great fun for flying, FPV and taking pics/film with a cam like the GoPro or a point and shoot, but it doesn't have the lifting capacity to carry a quality SLR + Lipos + FPV kit etc. For this you would need to look at MK / Droidworx or build your own! cheers
  10. thanks for your comments mate - think I will go ahead and get FY20A then - anything that helps keep it a little more stable will be grand. Super windy today but if things improve will go out and take some pictures and post them. cheers
  11. Hey RC-Cam I'm still really enjoying the 330xs too. I have just built a 450 size frame for it and transferred the electronics / motors onto it over the weekend. Also attached large cf landing gear (meant for a 650 size heli). It flies great, but with (obviously) reduced flight time due to all the extra weight - think I might lose the landing gear in the near future, but it does make it look like it means business!! It seems more stable now though, got to install my FPV kit onto it today and I'll try and get out of town soon do some higher altitude fpv. My first full FPV flight (on the old frame) resulted in a fairly violent crash and some serious nausea! Man, it's so much more difficult than I imagined, extremely disorientating. I am also waiting to get my hands on an OSD module which I hope will help a little. I am also disappointed with the quality of the FPV cam I have - I am thinking of using my GoPro HD instead, although I will need to make up suitable cable for it first to plug into the TX. I still can't decide whether to get an FY20A or to wait for the 90/91Q. I have now had 4 crashes with this thing over the last couple months (all my own fault) that would have totaled any of my regular helis - each time I have been flying again, soon after with a spot of CA or re-attaching a prop. It is, in my opinion anyway, an incredibly resilient machine. Will post some pictures of it later today if anyone is interested. Cheers
  12. Hi Heliphoto I started out last year with pretty much the same criteria that you have. I am a commercial photographer, and wanted a stable quad to take high-res aerial pictures for clients using my high-end DSLRs (Nikon D3s and D3). My research last year led me to the very pretty Draganflyer X6 out of Canada which is a tri-copter with all the features I wanted, FPV, telemetry, controllable cam-platform, GPS hold, base station etc. etc. (google 'draganflyer x6' to see their website) BUT it only has a payload of 500g - not enough for high-end DSLRs and with a price-tag of close on $20k all in!!! A few days ago the X8 (a quad) was announced with all the same (and some improved) features but a payload of 1000g so this would be more workable for what we want to do - but again, I'd need to mortgage my house to get my hands on one, and it still couldn't carry a D3s + lens attached. Pricing hasn't been released yet (as far as I know) but I assume it will be >$20k. Double that for me, with import duties/insurance/shipping and it becomes one heck of an expensive machine. There are also a bunch of legal issues you'd need to look at depending on where you live regarding altitude ceiling and frequency licensing. Soo.. I decided to leave it for a while and see what else I could lay my hands on to get into flying as a start. As Mr.RC-Cam rightly says, there is a steep learning curve to flying helis and I am still fairly close to the bottom of it. I've only been flying for a few months now, as getting the kit out to Africa is crazy expensive. I started out with a regular heli (the HB-CP3) which is a twitchy machine and difficult to fly well. I found RADDs training course though after a few expensive crashes and am getting slowly more confident with time. I would very definitely recommend using a sim first though - I just used the free FMS sim, which while not great, is perfectly adequate for learning basic orientation which is (to me anyway) the most difficult part of it, once your up and flying well. I then came across the Gaui 330x but read such dreadful reviews online that I decided against it until I found they had released an upgraded version (330xs). I went ahead and got it, paying around $1,500 to get it, tx&rx, batteries and mods to Africa. I built it over a weekend, and had trouble calibrating the ESCs at first (the manual is the usual badly translated Chinese) but once I had that sorted, I am extremely happy with it! The 330xs can handle a 700g payload (incl. pack) which is impressive for it's tiny size, however flying time is obviously limited at max payload capacity. I am currently carrying approx. 400g (CF camera platform, CF legs, 2200mah pack and the GoProHD (without it's case to shave off another 100g) and get about 8 minutes of aggressive flight on a pack. I am looking for a suitable FPV system now and plan to install the FY-20A after reading about Mr. RC-Cam's success with it. The gyro on the 330xs does a fairly commendable job of keeping it stable, as long as you have your centre of gravity sorted and little wind, but gusts at altitude still cause me heart-attacks so I would like a bit more stability and peace of mind. Extremely important to watch your voltage on the 330xs as one motor will cut out before the others with predictable results (I had no idea what had caused this until Mr.RC-Cam pointed it out). That being said I have found the 330xs to be very tough - I have had 2 crashes from high altitude, one due to low-voltage and one from a sparrow-hawk attacking it! I panicked, dumb-thumbed and down it came from about 100ft - one rotor popped off on impact but no damage at all and I was flying again a couple of minutes later. Sadly due to the goproHD's extreme wide angle the footage was rather less dramatic than it looked from the ground. Will post a link soon! Sorry to ramble on a bit - to sum up - for me the 330xs is a great affordable tough little quad and once I have FPV installed I should be able to get some decent shots using a higher end point and shoot cam but for now I am just enjoying the learning process, flying, repairing and building. It's a fantastic hobby though your wife/kids/wallet will more than likely disagree! I am still researching other options to achieve want I want to with the photography side of it, but I realize this is going to take a while and most likely be rather expensive. Whatever I eventually try though, will have to be as safe as possible before I strap on more than $5000 of my treasured camera gear! Good luck mate and let me know if you have any questions.
  13. Regarding backflip mentioned in previous post: Just downloaded footage. I had the GoPro taking pics every 2secs. Made for an "amusing" sequence. See below: 1. Hovering nicely 2. Mid-backflip 3. HARD landing right way up 4. Bounced and lay upside down Cheers
  14. Hi Rc-Cam I am a photographer based in Zambia and fairly new to R/C but excited to see your progress with installing the FY-20A on the 330xs. After flying a cp3 for a few weeks for fun I came across the 330xs and ordered it to see what I could do with it photographically. I finally received it last week (after being nailed 80% customs and duty!!!!) I finished building it over the weekend and used the aero-conversion kit to provide a camera platform. Its been flying great so far (after some initial difficulty understanding how to calibrate the ESCs). Once I add the fairly substantial weight of the camera and battery beneath the baseplate though, achieving a level hover is rather more difficult, especially in any sort of wind. The other day I was hovering at about 100ft when it suddenly flipped on its back and came down like a stone. I managed to right it (by pure luck) just before it hit the grass and the cf legs took the impact and bounced it upside down. Amazingly no damage at all to the 330 but I had to sit down and have a smoke. I still have no idea what caused it as it seems to be flying fine again now... Anyway, would love to hear more of your experience with the FY-20A as it seems it would be ideal for what I want to achieve with the 330. Here's a couple pics of it with the aero-conversion kit mounted with GoProHD cam and cf legs. cheers
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